The Ventura County Gilbert & Sullivan Repertoire Company is presenting Gilbert & Sullivan’s most popular and most frequently globally produced operetta, The Mikado. Written in 1865 and set in an imaginary Japanese village, it provides a beautiful setting for Sir William S. Gilbert to once more lampoon the British aristocracy, political system and Victorian social mores set to the lush score of Sir Arthur Sullivan. The story of its creation may not be entirely true, but the claim is that one day an old Japanese sword that, for years, had been hanging on the wall of W.S. Gilbert’s study, fell down from its place. This incident directed his attention to Japan and provided the inspiration for the musical.
The town of Titipu hasn’t had an execution for a while and the Lord High Executioner (KoKo) is informed his head may soon be on the chopping block if the situation isn’t remedied. A dilemma ensues, because how can an Executioner execute himself? Along comes a wandering minstrel (Nanki Poo) who happens to be in love with KoKo’s ward (YumYum), who also happens to be engaged to KoKo. In the meantime, Nanki Poo is engaged to someone else (Katisha) and he’s the incognito son of the Mikado? Heads may roll, or just may spend some time in boiling oil.
The Mikado has been one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operettas. Monty Python even did a parody of it the famous song, “I’ve Got A Little List”, with Eric Idle writing additional lyrics to it. Many of the songs from the Mikado are classics of the genre and audiences still roll with laughter at Gilbert and Sullivan’s penchant for poking fun at British morals, sensibilities and institutions of the day through the “Japanese” characters.
The show is directed by Rebecca Pillsbury. Musical direction is by Music Direction by Zachary Spencer, with Choreography by Julie Bermel. The Ventura County Gilbert and Sullivan Repertoire Company has been giving fresh new interpretations to these classic operettas since 2006. The Mikado opened to rave reviews on Friday, October 3rd, and runs Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday afternoons, through October 26th. For tickets please call the box office at 805-381-1246 or buy on-line. For more information please call 804-491-6103.
Theatre on the Hill Hillcrest Center for the Arts
403 W. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks